Forgetting the Laws

There are several laws companies tend to forget when you’re busy. Right now, it’s even easier to ignore some of the employment laws if you’re in survival mode. However, while you may believe you’ll get a free pass because of the pandemic… think again.

California has allowed very few exceptions to the normal employment laws and you will be held accountable for non-compliance if problems from those “forgotten laws” should pop up during a future audit. Here are a few things we’ve noticed:

  • Meal and rest breaks — Yes, even those employees working at home must still follow the usual timing for meal and rest breaks and those meal breaks need to show up on timecards.
  • Scheduling — Employees often like to create their own schedules when working at home. However, this can create payroll issues due to split work shifts (more than 1 hour between their morning and afternoon shifts) or overtime pay because they were in a flow and didn’t want to stop working that day. Maintain your regular work hours even with remote workers.
  • Classification issue #1 — If you have exempt, salaried employees who now have too few employees reporting to them (the equivalent of 80+ hours at a bare minimum), they have lost their exemption and should be hourly for the duration.
  • Classification issue #2 — If you have an exempt outside sales rep, the only way they qualify for the exemption is to be knocking on doors 51% of the time. Since that’s not possible, their exemption is not possible and they should be hourly for the duration.
  • Fraud — Unemployment is quite attractive at the moment due to the extra money people are receiving from the government. Some people are making more money with unemployment than when they worked. However, it is fraud if they are turning down work you have available for them and, whenever possible, you should fight their claim.

Life doesn’t feel anything like normal at the moment. However, things will eventually level out and California and the feds will be looking over everything that’s happened. Don’t become a target for an audit by pretending the laws are more relaxed right now. The basics haven’t changed at all.

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